Grading the NBA Christmas Day Games

Every year, sports fans have a few days circled on the calendar. Two of those days being NFL Thanksgiving games and NBA Christmas Day games.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that on Wednesday at 2pm, the NBA would be releasing parts of the schedule for the upcoming season, including the Christmas Day games.

NBA fans received the news a little early as the Christmas Day games surfaced the internet on Tuesday night.

We have some familiar faces in Golden State, New York, Boston, Oklahoma City and LeBron & the Lakers. As well as Milwaukee, Portland and Utah making a surprise appearance.

Taking a look at each, we’ll start at Madison Square Garden.

Bucks vs Knicks, 12pm ET. ESPN

As mentioned before, it’s no surprise the Knicks will be hosting a Xmas day game; it’s more of the opponent. An MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks into MSG in what should be a pretty decent game. The health of Porzingis is certainly a concern, as his presence would definitely help the Knicks’ chances at winning against a much more talented Milwaukee team. Other than that, not too much to look forward to here.

Grade: C+

Thunder vs Rockets, 3pm ET. ABC

Russell Westbrook. Paul George. James Harden. Chris Paul. Carmelo Anthony in a Rockets jersey. Make sure you have everything you need in front of you, because this is a game you don’t want to miss. Two teams with one goal: knocking off the Warriors to get to the NBA Finals. The last two MVP winners in Westbrook and Harden will look to put on a show, one fans should be heavily anticipating.

Grade: A+

76ers vs Celtics, 5:30pm ET. ABC

A rematch between two teams who met in the ECF Semifinals, where Boston took the series in five. With Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward expected to be back and healthy, the sky is the limit for this very talented Boston team. But, Trust the Process? The 76ers are young and hungry, and will look to prove its worth among the best in the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will look to do just that on Christmas Day.

Grade: A-

Lakers vs Warriors, 8pm ET. ESPN

Another matchup between LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors. This time, LeBron will be wearing purple and gold. Along with James, the additions of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Javale McGee and Michael Beasley will be put to the biggest test in the NBA: winning a game at Oracle Arena. The two-time defending champions will look to show, again, why the NBA Finals will have to go through Oakland, for the third consecutive year. Can the new Lakers pieces, as well as Lonzo, Kuzma, KCP and Ingram make a statement on national t.v?

Grade: A

Blazers vs Jazz, 10:30pm ET. ESPN

Last, but not least, Utah is where the final Christmas Day game will take place. The visitors? The third seed in the Western Conference a season ago. That didn’t end so well, as the sixth seeded Pelicans eliminated the Blazers in four. Many are high on the Jazz, as Vegas sets the o/u for Jazz wins at 48.5. There was a little noise about if CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard can go deep in the playoffs together, and this season may be the last chance for the two to prove it. As for the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell finished second in the ROY race, and seems ready to be the star the Jazz need. Reigning DPOY, Rudy Gobert, along with Ricky Rubio, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder look to be key pieces in building a deep-playoff contending team.

Grade: B-